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TOULMIN SMITH - A DIARY WITH A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

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Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway remains thick-skinned, despite several media onslaughts over the years. ...
Cardiff Lord Mayor Russell Goodway remains thick-skinned, despite several media onslaughts over the years.
The press has hounded him over his 100% pay rise, his spat with Ron Davies which nearly meant the assembly went to Swansea, and his appropriation of the title Lord Mayor.
But whatever political shenanigans he becomes involved in are a far cry from his early days as a Labour councillor.
He recalls a vital meeting when the vote seemed certain to go with the ruling party. But then a series of unfortunate circumstances meant they were on the brink of losing.
'They couldn't believe it when it looked like the vote was going against them,' he said.
'There was only one vote in it, then one of the councillors had a heart attack. They couldn't afford to lose his vote, so they waited to take him to hospital - until after he had voted.'
The hapless member made a full recovery, having played his part in the democratic process.
-On a recent visit to a school in her Durham Northwest constituency, local government minister Hilary Armstrong was greeted with enthusiasm by teachers and pupils alike.
But she was taken aback when a pupil asked her if she was television presenter Anne Robinson. Councils everywhere are now asking themselves: 'Are we the weakest link?'
-Labour loyalists came up smelling of roses in what has been dubbed the 'Battle of Nantwich'.
Three renegade Labour councillors sparked a furious row by announcing they were setting up a runaway group, symbolised by sprigs of holly worn in the lapels.
A concerned party member contacted group secretary Howard Curran with the offer of 26 red rose button holes for the remaining councillors, which they proudly wore to the next committee meeting.
-Labour managers must have felt the youth vote was assured when hordes of screaming girls descended on the armadillo-shaped conference centre in Glasgow last weekend where the party was holding its spring conference.
But it was Westlife, not Tony Blair, who were pulling in the crowds. In an attempt to disentangle the two audiences Labour organisers laid down footprints to guide the faithful to the auditorium. Alas, all too predictably, some wag moved the footprints.
-Terry Wogan has boosted a course in 'teabag folding' run by Medway Council.
Mr Wogan said he was impressed by the 'kaleidoscope' effect of the folded speciality teabags on his Radio 2 morning show.
Course tutor Wendy Empett said: 'It can be quite fiddly but is very rewarding . . . people who join courses such as this, perhaps with a new hobby in mind, often go on to tackle other subjects.'
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